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March 19, 2021

Matt Painter

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Purdue Boilermakers

Lucas Oil Stadium - Equality Court (North)

Postgame Media Conference

North Texas - 78, Purdue - 69

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with an opening statement from coach.

MATT PAINTER: Well, congratulations to North Texas. I thought they played a great game. Well coached team. Shot the ball well. Very stingy, very, very good on the defensive end. Really made it a point to try to take us out of what we wanted to do from post ups and especially to start the game. And just overall I was just very impressed with North Texas. And our guys played obviously a much better second half. Obviously when you make more shots that helps, but we really put ourself in a great position and played well for that stretch and went into a little bit of a lull there, obviously with a front end of a one and one, I think and one at one time and maybe another front end where we had missed three or four free throws, I'm not sure exactly on the number, in that stretch under five minutes, where we were doing really good things, making shots, getting fouled and I thought that was kind of a key stretch. Obviously we still made enough plays and got enough stops to put the game into overtime. But I thought that was a key stretch right there if we could have knocked some of those down and got that lead and got them on their heels a little bit, especially if we could have got it to a two-possession lead, but we didn't, and give them credit, and I thought our guys did a good job of just hanging in there and then we did not play well in the overtime. Just had a series of possessions there from offense, defense, to offense, defense to start the overtime where we didn't execute and then they were able to score the basketball.

But once again, congratulations to Coach McCasland and their players. They're a fabulous team. And it just stings, we got a good group of guys and you just want it for them. You just want them to have this success and to be able to win games in the NCAA tournament and advance. But this is also part of it.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for coach.

Q. A lot of the offense seemed to come off dribble penetration. What was the issue there for either your team defensively or what problems were they creating off the dribble where they were able to get those rhythm threes?

MATT PAINTER: Yeah, they were really trying to search out some matchups that they liked, especially at the start of that second half, we had a series of breakdowns and they were getting some matchups that were tough for us. But just, I thought we did a good job. When we contained the dribble and kept them out of the paint, I thought good things happened for us. When they got too deep on the dribble, when they got in there and they made plays. And that was their thing and that's what we really discussed and talked about. We thought that was a big emphasis, that we had to do a good job of keeping them out of the paint and at times we did and at times we didn't.

Q. You got a lot out of Isaiah Thompson tonight. It seemed like he gave you a spark when you really needed it. Can you talk about his role tonight?

MATT PAINTER: I thought he did a great job. We felt his ability to make a shot, he didn't turn the basketball over, he did some good things defensively, they couldn't search out matchups with him as much. We wanted to put more quickness out there on the floor with him and Eric Hunter and Jaden Ivey in the group, just because they're so good off the bounce. But I thought Isaiah was great, I. Thought he gave us a really good lift on both ends.

Q. Why was it so hard to play through the post on the offensive end?

MATT PAINTER: Well, they just took it away. They just stayed in there on both sides when there was people in there and they were making those guys just be a passer. I thought Zach did a really good job in the first half of just making some simple passes and moving the ball and then it generated some good shots. I think one of them was Isaiah's three, when he subbed in. And Trevion when they came and got him a couple times right there, when he made that simple play, it was really effective. But keeping the ball in your hands too long, while they're putting a guy to your left and right and your defender, we had to move it at those times. And when we did that, when he got one-on-one the second half more, he was effective. Obviously he got some things off offensive rebounds, like Mason did too. But they just loaded it up and they were going to force us to make some shots and force us to make that next play and I thought when we did those things, got quality shots, obviously in the first half we didn't knock those down, but we also rushed some things and we just had to do a better job. It's not like anything that we haven't seen. I think they emphasized it a little bit more and made us, beat us from that area, more from the perimeter than maybe other people do. But I thought it was nothing a whole lot different than anybody else have done, like I said, I just thought they did it a little bit more and just held in there a little bit more to make those guys more decision makers and passers instead of scorers.

Q. What was your message to the guys after the game? And also what do you want your young guys to learn from this experience?

MATT PAINTER: Yeah, I didn't hear the first part. I heard about what do you want your young guys to --

Q. Also what was your message to the team afterwards.

MATT PAINTER: You know, it's tough. Like, right, we have a good group of guys. We have good people on our team and they care about the game and they care about each other and just want them to have the experience of winning a game and getting back to the hotel and getting ready for your next opponent and that feeling that we had a couple years ago when we got to the Elite 8. You just want that for them, and just appreciative and thankful for everything that they do, and as a coach, like, you're on your guys. Like, you're on them. Like, you want them to get better. Like, you're there and you want them on edge and you want them to improve, but when it's all over with, like, that goes out the window a little bit. You're thankful. We have good guys in our locker room and as a staff we have worked really hard to put together a team that Purdue will be proud of and, but it's difficult. You're not real good, just like I am right here, of kind of putting words together to really, and really let them know how you feel, because they're hurting, man, they're hurting. No one was out there trying to miss a jumper or have a breakdown on the defensive end and you try to do everything in your power and our guys are, they're grounded, we respected the heck out of North Texas. This wasn't one of those games where anybody was looking past them. I made sure I talked to them about Grant McCasland and his path and the talent on their team. And a lot of times people talk about things and picks and different things, but as coaches you respect other coaches and you respect other players, and our guys definitely respected North Texas and they were just a little bit better than us today. But I'm proud to be their coach and I'm happy to be their coach at Purdue and very grateful of that.

Q. Were they as quick as they appeared on film or did their quickness like catch you guys off guard at all?

MATT PAINTER: Well, I think they're pretty shifty. They have a lot of guys that can shoot. I think the one thing, their ability to make some shots, and they have guys that have good percentages. So the guys making shots tonight aren't guys that can't shoot. Like, you know the guys that made threes for them, our guys who can shoot the basketball and we wanted to give attention to and they were just searching out certain matchups and trying to break us down. And we obviously had some breakdowns, but we also did some good things against them and they had some tough possessions also. But they're good players, just across the board. They have some skilled guys and then they have some guys that are shifty that can break you down and get into that paint.

Q. Second consecutive games you guys have been able to work off of (No microphone) in the second half and then things kind of fall off a little bit in that overtime. Did you see anything in this overtime period that you recognized from that game against Ohio State?

MATT PAINTER: Yeah, that's obviously a great question, because I talked about that before our overtime. I didn't feel like against Ohio State we had -- I used the word energy -- I just said, hey, man, like, you got to have energy here, like, you got to be ready to go. And I thought against Ohio State in that overtime, and to Ohio State's credit they made more plays than we did, but I also felt like we gave so much effort to get back into that game at Ohio State, did we have enough in our tank right there. And I didn't talk about it before we went out at Ohio State. Obviously we fought really hard to get in that position. Now we're down eight at half and we just couldn't get over that hump and get that lead to finish it off until we get into overtime and that was my discussion before, let's have over -- let's have energy, let's be ready, let's be simple, let's hit singles, and we just didn't have a good start. It was something we discussed about once again, like, all the questions that have been asked are really good questions because it was let's be simple, let's put them into a bind, let's break them down when they over-help, let's get the ball moving, whether that's off drives or post ups, the same thing, but let's also keep them out of the paint and let's just have energy and make effort plays, make those 50/50 plays. And just the start of the half, those first four possessions, two offense, two defense, just put us back on our heels.

Q. The Big-10 was regarded as potentially the league's best conference pretty much all season long. Nine bids. Three of the teams are already out --

MATT PAINTER: I can't hear you.

Q. The Big-10 was regarded as one of the top, as potentially the top conference in the league all season long. Now three teams have been eliminated so far. How surprised are you by the fact, the way the tournament has started for the Big-10 and how much does it speak to the conference's strength as far as the NCAA tournament is?

MATT PAINTER: I don't have a pulse. Obviously Michigan State lost in overtime, we lost in overtime and I think Ohio State lost in overtime too, if I'm not mistaken. So you're going to get into close games in the NCAA tournament and obviously matchups are what drives the NCAA tournament. Those numbers don't matter and you got to be able to go out on a neutral court and perform. But we had a great year this year as a conference, I think a tough, from 1 to 14 was obviously the best conference. And obviously when you do that and you get the most teams in, and then you have some really close losses, people want to push back and say, well, you didn't maybe have quite the year that you thought. Now we had a great year as a conference. But you're one point away in three different games of winning and you don't win and that just -- we want it for our conference, there's not anybody out there in our league that's not fighting to try to win for themselves and win for their conference. And I understand the question, but it was pretty sticky league this year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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